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Safed Spirituality
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Safed Spirituality


Rules of Mystical Piety & The Beginning of Wisdom


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"The renaissance of Jewish mystical life which took place in the Galilean city of Safed in the sixteenth century is one of the most significant and remarkable chapters in the history of Judaism. The ideas which developed there, the rich literature which was produced, the stunning array of teachers which it nurtured, established Safed as one of the great centers of Jewish creativity." So writes Professor Lawrence Fine in the foreword of this volume. Collected here are the Hanhagot of Moses Cordovero, Abraham Galante, Abraham be Eliezer ha-Levi Berukhim, Joseph Karo, and Isaac Luria, plus the mystical-ethical treatise, Reshit Hokhmah (The Beginning of Wisdom) by Elijah de Vidas. In these writings the unique blend of kabbalistic tradition and messianic enthusiasm, which is characteristic of Safed spirituality, comes alive. The importance of the Safed tradition for today is perhaps best summed up by Louis Jacobs' description of the Safed mystics as "mighty God seekers; at times perhaps, over-credulous and superstitious from the contemporary point of view, but daring stormers of the heavens." Their intense devotional piety, their efforts to imbue even the most mundane event with religious meaning and their insistence on the cosmic significance of all human action make their thought a relevant, stimulating source of spiritual insight for our age.

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